Early in the morning on Sunday, Beijing time, China’s Yutu (translates to “Jade Rabbit”) lunar rover put its wheels down on the surface of the moon for the first time. This is the first time in nearly 40 years that a new rover has been placed on the moon, and this achievement makes China only the third country to do so. Only the United States and the Soviet Union have used lunar rovers before.
The night before Yutu touched the lunar surface, the Chang’e-3 spacecraft landed on the moon on the Sinus Iridum (the Bay of Rainbows). The plains in this region were formed by ancient volcanic activity. Hours later, a ramp began to emerge from the spacecraft and Yutu rolled onto the moon for the first time.
Yutu’s mission will investigate the composition and structure of the moon with a variety of cameras and sensors. It is equipped with a radar which can penetrate an astonishing 100 meters down into the moon to provide the desired information.
Check out this amazing, historical moon landing and rover deployment here: